Nick Turse, hot on the heels of publishing a book with Tom Engelhardt called “Terminator Planet”, discusses the not-too-distant future of drone (on drone) warfare. Some of the “highlights” of the article are as follows.
As 2012 began there were over 9,500 RPAs (remotely piloted aircraft) in the U.S. DOD arsenal.
By March 2012, according to Air Force statistics, Predators had logged 1,127,400 hours of flight, 1,041,740 in combat.
The military stopped purchasing Predators in 2010, opting for the larger Reaper drone, which have flown for 261,000 hours, 228,000 in combat. According to Air Force spokesperson Jennifer Spires, the Air Force plans to buy a grand total of 401 MQ-9s in the coming years. Air Force contracting documents suggest that the estimated five Reaper sorties flown each day in 2012 will jump to 66 per day by 2016.
Predator and Reaper drones are fundamentally “defenseless” and unable to out-wit even basic air defense systems.
Since their invention, U.S. aircraft have struck North Korea, South Korea, Indonesia, Guatemala, Cuba, North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Grenada, Libya, Panama, Iraq, Kuwait, the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq (again), Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen (again), Libya (again), and the Philippines.
Unmanned planes have struck Vietnam, the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and the Philippines
We’ve left behind the fiction of Hollywood for a less high-tech but distinctly dystopian reality. It isn’t quite the movies and it isn’t what the Pentagon mapped out, but it indisputably provides a clear path to a grim and grimy Terminator Planet.